Saturday, August 17, 2013
Saturday Sayings: A Fan of Independence
Three years ago one of my boys dropped his whiteboard marker under his desk and didn't know what to do about it. Needless to say, I didn't recover it for him. I'm such a fan of independent first graders and have been for years. Janice Sullivan, one of my favorite mentors, told me ages ago never to do something for a child that they could do for themselves. It's almost like she and Regie were comparing notes.
Unfortunately, I've noticed an increase in the number of helpless little ones who don't know how to do things for themselves. I'm guessing they've been hanging out with well-meaning adults who do most everything for them. The lunchroom alone is proof that this problem is on the rise. Not a day goes by that I don't see several milk bottles, bags of chips, and other miscellaneous items being held in the air, waiting for an adult to come to their rescue. There are adults who run to and fro doing just that, but I am not that adult. I'll either say, "You give it a go" or show them how to get started and then expect them to take over. "Aren't you glad I didn't do that for you? You would have never found out the amazing things you can do all by yourself." And of course their proud smile sends the message that I was right. (When it comes to the small plastic cups of fruit, it's a different story. Those are hard for even me!) I could go on with examples of the ways adults teach children to be dependent on them (even in the classroom) but in the end, I believe it's a great disservice that can eventually leak into the way children approach learning.